Does Dawkins understand group selection?

This struck me as a very odd passage. It’s from a recent, critical review by Richard Dawkins of E.O. Wilson’s latest book.

“Nobody doubts that some groups survive better than others. What is controversial is the idea that differential group survival drives evolution, as differential individual survival does. The American grey squirrel is driving […]

One more thing about Outliers and hockey.

Not to belabor the point, but here is one more thing about Canadian hockey and the claims in Outliers. Ok, two more things.

In Canadian minor hockey, the age divisions are as follows:

Age Categories

* Mite (ages 3-4) * Tyke (ages 5-6) * Novice (ages 7-8) * Atom (ages 9-10) * Peewee […]

Outliers -- strike two.

Ok, this claim in Outliers can’t pass without comment.  On p.40, Gladwell implies that even Mozart was not really so special.  Yeah, he started composing at age six, but lots of that was just rearrangements of others’ works and he didn’t produce anything that could be considered a masterwork until he was 21.  Right.  […]

Outliers -- a quick fact check.

On the recommendation of several people, I have started reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s interesting so far, and he makes some thought-provoking arguments about the role of opportunities in youth and hard work (“the 10,000 hour rule” — how much it takes to master anything) as opposed to innate ability as drivers of […]

Genesis vs. The Origin — are you kidding me?

Check out this nonsense from an article in The Toronto Star, which for some reason decides to pit the Bible against The Origin of Species as works of literature.

You can spot the difference in the quality of the writing from the very first lines of the respective books. The first line of Genesis […]

Happy birthday, Origin!

Today’s the day! 150 years ago, Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. If you haven’t read it yet in all that time, what’s your excuse?

Side note: No sign of the special edition from Ray […]

Guess what came in the mail this morning?

Get ’em here and here.

A biblical experiment.

The Telegraph reports an interesting list of the most disturbing passages from the Bible, as compiled in a light-hearted project entitled “Chapter and Worse” at the Christian site Ship of Fools.

Here’s the list, in case you’re curious:

No. 1: St Paul’s advice about whether women are allowed to teach men in […]


Not being in the UK anymore, I am not able to pick up my free copy of Darwin: A Graphic Biography by Simon Gurr and Eugene Byrne. It would take someone pretty generous to send me one. Hint.

Hat tip to Beagle Project Blog

On the Origin of Species – Chapter 3.

Chapter 3 – Struggle for Existence

This is the chapter in which Darwin really picks things up. Whereas the first two may have been more like, in Darwin’s own words, “a dry list of facts”, this one is written in a very passionate tone. Having established that individuals vary both in domesticated breeds and […]